Saturday, April 8, 2017

Sleep in Review

The Fashion and Style section of the NYTimes, of all places, has an article on sleep, "Sleep Is the New Status Symbol", by Penelope Green. It opens:
At M.I.T.’s Media Lab, the digital futurist playground, David Rose is investigating swaddling, bedtime stories and hammocks, as well as lavender oil and cocoons. Mr. Rose, a researcher, an inventor-entrepreneur and the author of “Enchanted Objects: Design, Human Desire and the Internet of Things,” and his colleagues have been road-testing weighted blankets to induce a swaddling sensation and listening to recordings of Icelandic fairy tales — all research into an ideal sleep environment that may culminate in a nap pod, or, as he said, “some new furniture form.”
And goes on from there, sleep research at UCal Berkeley, a sleep appliance start-up in Paris, a body-clock reset device in Australia, to:
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls sleeplessness a public health concern. Good sleep helps brain plasticity, studies in mice have shown; poor sleep will make you fat and sad, and then will kill you. It is also expensive: Last year, the RAND Corporation published a study that calculated the business loss of poor sleep in the United States at $411 billion — a gross domestic product loss of 2.28 percent.

Companies now fight “presenteeism,” a neologism that describes the lackluster performance of foggy-brained, sleep-deprived employees, with sleep programs like Sleepio, an online sleep coach, and sleep fairs, like the one hosted last month in Manhattan by Nancy H. Rothstein, director of Circadian Corporate Sleep Programs and otherwise known as the Sleep Ambassador, for LinkedIn.
The "sleep space" was a $32B market in 2012.
“I can see sleep being another weapon in competitive parenting and career-building,” Ms. Salzman said. “If you want your child to succeed, do you have to buy them these sleep devices? Sleep is personal, it’s class, not mass, and now the sleep industry is based on technical services, customized for me. It’s a bizarre marriage of high tech and low tech. Chamomile tea is going to have a resurgence, as the antithesis to the whole pharma thing.”
And so it goes.


Think of sleep as something done by/for the mind. All this interest in sleep testifies to the difficulty and importance of learning to regulate your mind. It's in the same ballpark as meditation, mindfulness, and the many forms of psychotherapy.

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